With Extinction Rebellion making headlines and Sir David Attenborough broadcasting The Facts on BBC One, climate change has gone mainstream this Easter. A nation has been watching protesters glue themselves to trains, turn London’s roads into gardens and actively invite arrest in their hundreds.
As a media strategy it is working. How did glueing yourself to a train highlight climate change, Radio 4’s Today presenter Nick Robinson asked Dr Gail Bradbrook, an Extinction Rebellion co-founder. “It gets you on the Today programme,” she replied.
For Chris Packham, an environmental campaigner and BBC presenter, this is welcome progress, marking a long-awaited moment when news bulletins lead daily on global warming.
He, like others, has detected a recent change in the BBC’s coverage. Attenborough’s much heralded programme, broadcast on Thursday, was part of a series of hard-hitting documentaries by the corporation, along with a forthcoming programme on human population growth presented by Packham. “They [the BBC] are certainly making sure they are moving away from criticism levelled at them in the last few years of only showing a rose-tinted view of the natural world,” Packham said.
Demonstrators dancing down Oxford Street or planting shrubbery on Waterloo Bridge attract headlines, which in turn influence programme-makers, he believes. “So I think there is a change, yes. The BBC has got its fingers on the pulse.”
From the start Extinction Rebellion has made it easy for the media. Through its “Declaration of Rebellion” on Halloween, its “Blood of our Children” stunt in Downing Street and strip protest in the Houses of Parliament, it has made and nurtured key contacts at media organisations in the buildup to this week’s direct action. [Continue reading…]